The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for the 'Food & Drink' Category

03 April
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Drink Up Thy Cider – In Cornwall…..

Great day, today, cidering in Cornwall….

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Cider, once widely drunk throughout England for centuries, virtually disappeared from pubs in the last half of the twentieth century. Recently it has been revived in a bastardised form as a fashionable Saturday night binge drink but, as with real ale, there has been a silent underground revolution spearheaded by small artisan producers like the Healeys.

Near Truro in Cornwall is their Cornish Cyder Farm, not just a great place to visit and learn about cider making (and drinking) but a heartwarming story of how a young couple turned a dream into a prosperous business by vision and sheer hard graft.

1980 David and Kay Healey open their first off-licence in Mevagissey
1986: The family buys a run-down farm with no electricity or water
1987: They start planting orchards
1990: Their Cornish Gold Cyder is first produced
1993: Their on-site farm shop opens in response to public demand

From the moment we turned the key in the door of our first off-licence, to dreaming of making our own hand-pressed cyder. From lovingly bringing a 150-year-old farm back to life, to coaxing our very own orchards into bloom then turning their fruit into world-beating drinks. From pouring our love of apples into jams and juices, to branching out and creating Cornwall’s first brandy in over 300 years – we’ve always believed in thinking differently and striving for more. Where will it lead us next?

From basic Scrumpy to award winning Cornish Rattler and Cornish Whiskey (£175 a bottle) the Healey’s make drinks for all tastes – and pockets

Here’s a toast to the Healeys – and all the independent cider makers who are redefining the old adage – small is not only beautiful but hopefully profitable as well….

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25 February
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I Am Sure God Enjoys A Gin & Tonic Now And Then….

gins

Nothing like a gin and tonic to help put everything in perspective……

Cheers!!!!!

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03 November
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Good Bye, Johnny Foreigner – We Can Now Order A Coffee In Plain English…..

Since God clearly speaks English it is good to hear that Debenhams coffee shops will be knocking Johnny Foreigner down a peg or two by letting us order our caffeine buzz in the greatest language in the world.

A caffe latte is now called a “really, really milky coffee”, while a cappuccino has become a “frothy coffee”, and a caffe mocha has been changed to a “chocolate flavoured coffee”. Black coffee has been replaced with “simple coffee, with or without milk”, while an espresso is labelled “a shot of strong coffee”.

No more fancy names like grande or venti either – it’ll be those simple three letter words mug and cup.

I am so pleased. The arty farty Italian words were used to create a false air of sophistication – and keep out the poor who simply didn’t have time to learn a poncey foreign language. To me those words always conjured up someone a little greasy and over excited and not to be trusted….

God Save the Queen!!!!!!!!

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20 October
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Great Food Porn Moments In Literature…..Hot, Buttered Toast….mmmmmm….

In Chapter VIII of “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, Mr Toad is in prison, steeped in despair when the gaoler’s daughter brings him…..toast….

When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries. Toad sat up on end once more, dried his eyes, sipped his tea and munched his toast….

mmmmm….heading for the bread bin and the toaster right now……

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17 October
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English Schoolchildren Are Starving, Claims Spurious “Survey”

Final proof from the UK Guardian (and BBC) that the cabal of Old Etonian toffs who now hold Britain in an iron grip is ruthlessly implementing its master plan – nothing less than the extermination of the proletariat by starving their children and ensuring the gradual extinction of Socialism’s natural constituency, the working classes.

A sixth of teachers are spending up to £25 a month buying bread, fruit and snacks to feed pupils who turn up to school without having eaten breakfast, according to the findings of a survey.
Almost four out of five teachers reported an increase in the prevalence of pupils arriving at school hungry over the last 12 months.

OMG – there are 438,000 teachers in English state schools – so 17,800 are spending their own money to feed their students. ….and 350,400 of them are reporting that children are coming into school starving.

Is it time, therefore, to grab the red flags, axes and molotov cocktails and surge into the streets, marching behind Polly Toynbee and bob Crowe as they lead crowds of millions into Whitehall, ready to storm the fortress of the Cameron regime?
Not quite because, if you delve a little deeper into the article you will find the numbers are based on a survey……

of 500 UK teachers carried out by food company Kellogg’s

500 – which is 0.11% of all state school teachers in England.

Kellogg’s – a manufacturer of breakfast cereals.

Kellogg’s – whose charitable arm has been organising and funding breakfast clubs in schools since 1998.

Kellogg’s – which almost certainly has a database of names of teachers associated with breakfast clubs..

Hardly a random sample from a disinterested party – but enough to generate several items on various news outlets featuring sad eyed parents and, naturally, Jamie Oliver . Inevitably there was fingerpointing

half of teachers also attributed increased pupil hunger to “financial hardship” caused by government spending cuts, unemployment and rising living costs,

The answer? What else but more government support for breakfast clubs.

However, to be fair to the Guardian and BBC, two thirds of the teachers surveyed blamed “parent apathy”. Many parents are too disorganised to provide a brerakfast for their children, having neither the “time” or the “inclination”.

Note that crucial point. Many kids missed breakfast, not because their parents couldn’t afford to buy food – but because they are too bloody ignorant to make sure their kids eat a breakfast. Ergo the government should reward their ignorance by getting those parents who do provide a breakfast to finance the others via taxation.

The fact is that breakfast clubs, like after school clubs, are essentially child minding tools so that working parents can dump their children so they can go out and earn money. Government subsidies would mean that they get the extra bonus of free child care on top of their earnings.

You can smell the teacher unions involvement in this “campaign” with the mere mention of “cuts”. It’s yet another bogus bit of propaganda using spurious “research” to justify a self fulfilling prophecy – and gain more space at the trough for those associated with such campaigns….

Also, wasn’t it only a few weeks ago that another set of gurus were saying that UK kids eat too much?

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20 September
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Bake A Gypsy Tart And Recapture Your Youth – And The Bonus Is You’ll Also Annoy A Food Fascist

Whisk evaporated milk and sugar together for approximately 10 minutes until light and fluffy and coffee coloured. Pour the mixture into a pastry case. Bake for 10 minutes.

Who would have guessed that, with just a tin of evaporated milk, twelves ounces of muscovada sugar and a bit of shortcrust pastry you would be able to transport yourself a few decades back to those days in school when you had no greater concern than working out some excuse for not doing the maths homework and/or worrying about your spots.

Yes, folks – it’s the golden talisman that brings a positive glow to the school memories of anyone over thirty…..Gypsy Tart…..the ultimate in food porn.

I have yet to meet the person whose eyes do not half close with pleasure at the mere mention of it – which is strange because, in general, school dinner memories are like dental drilling, necessary but unpleasant procedures that are best filed under F for forget. However the exception always is that combination of caramel and shortcrust pastry, accompanied with a dollop of whipped cream….pure nirvana.

What’s more GT is the kryptonite that can fend off the miserabilist fatwas of those pursed lipped food fascists whose sole purpose in life is to demonise anything that makes our existence joyful – and nothing can be guaranteed to rile them up more than the three deadly sins of evaporated milk, sugar and pastry all in one place.

As a teacher, of course, my one major perk was the pleasure of regularly feasting on gypsy tart for the entirety of my adult working life – and gloating over my non teaching friends as I reminded them of what they were missing by relating this little anecdote from my own experience.

Many years ago, while teaching a class of twelve year olds about the ancient Greeks (are children taught that stuff any more?) I was telling them about the gods and goddesses who the Greeks believed dwelt upon Mount Olympus and their diet of ambrosia and nectar, the food and drink of the gods. Someone asked if we knew what those substances were. I replied we did not know but maybe they were based on honey since they were supposed to be very sweet.
Wayne put up his hand and said if that was the case then he knew what the food of the gods really was…..”Gypsy Tart” said he.
The rest of the class laughed but I caught Wayne’s eye and nodded…”you know, Wayne, I think you could be right…..”

So, for those of you who would either recapture your school days or share your lunch box with the a god and a goddess this is a very sensible recipe – and, for the mavericks, here is one of the wittiest “how to do it” food pieces I have ever read…

BTW 01 – for any of my US friends – over here anything in a pastry case not topped with pastry we call a TART…if it is covered with pastry we call it a PIE….just sayin’

BTW 02 – do schools serve gypsy tart any more?

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15 August
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Calling Michelle Obama….Cycling Champion Bradley Wiggins Spotted Relaxing With Glass Of Wine And Cigarette!!!

If Michelle Obama was upset at an American Olympian gold medallist eating an Egg McMuffin imagine how unhappy she would be if Bradley Wiggins was an American.

Luckily he is a Brit and a few weeks ago he won one of the toughest sports competitions in the world – the 2,500 mile Tour de France. Then he came back to the Olympics and won gold in the cycling time trial.

He is now relaxing on holiday in Spain with his family and was pictured sitting outside a bar enjoying a glass of wine …and a cigarette……

Hey – someone needs to tell him how to keep fit!!!!!!

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16 April
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They Might Be The Toughest Drinkers In Britain But They Are Not The Worst Educated….

Pubs, by their very nature, can be lively, noisy, boisterous places especially as the evening moves on and the alcohol keeps flowing. Some, of course, because of their clientele, project an atmosphere of potential violence where a word or even a glance can generate a challenge. My father, who had been brought up in one of the tougher parts of South London and then, as a soldier, became a frequent patron of pubs throughout Britain and bars around the Mediterranean, took great pains, when I came of drinking age, to induct me into the self preservation strategies that allow a drinker to sense trouble a half minute or so before it breaks out and head towards the most appropriate exit.

So I doubt that, if I had lived in Bolton, I would have gone within a quarter mile of “The Flying Shuttle”, described by the Daily Mail as probably the “toughest pub” in Britain. It appeared to be open all the time, in defiance of the licensing laws, not because the landlord held an open house but simply because the bar staff were too frightened to call time. In the end it took thirteen police officers to close it down and even then there was a mini riot.

But in the midst of even the most terrifying indictment of human degradation something can sometimes sparkle through the darkest gloom. Although the patrons of the Shuttle appear to be a mixture of drug dealers, thieves, gangsters and whores there is at least one person who seems to have not only a rather dry sense of self deprecating humour but also (very rare amongst the denizens of our underclass) a grasp of the English language and an ability to spell…….for he or she could turn The Flying Shuttle

….into The Lying Slut

What’s that sound? It’s Will Shakespeare chuckling up there in the big library in the sky……

h/t UK Daily Mail

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10 July
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Politician Accused Of Bribing Voters – With Noodles…..

Perhaps Marie Antoinette really said “let them eat noodles”. But until now I never saw those seemingly inoffensive strips as the most effective way of persuading the electorate to put their marks against your name at the polling station.

It appears, however, that in Thailand, according to The Bangkok Post, some people see things differently.

The party she leads won a sweeping victory in the recent Thai election but Yingluck Shinawatra has been accused by her political opponents of bribing voters by handing out free noodles during the campaign.

They are saying this violated electoral law and therefore she should be disqualified from office and the election declared null and void.
The row centres around this picture which was seen by a local opposition activist who contacted party leaders.

Barefaced bribery, said Yingluck Shinawatra’s opponents.

Not so, say her supporters. A local noodle seller, Chongrak Waeokhok, 63, happens also to be an admirer of their leader so, knowing her heroine was going to be campaigning in the area, she paid for the ingredients herself and merely asked her to pose over the noodle pot.

According to Thai media electoral officials have completed their investigation and the report will be published shortly.

In the meantime if someone with a passing resemblance to a local politician comes up to you in a pub and says “psssst…want some noodles?” transfix them with a glare of icy honesty and reply “I am incorruptible” – or, on the other hand, just hold out a plate….

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26 June
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Buttered Jam Scones….mmmmm…

My wife makes the scones, then we spread them thickly with butter then top them with a big blob of fruit jam…..delicious!! Of course, if we really want to be decadent instead of butter we use thick clotted cream – then wham on the jam…..

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